Full Safe Schools Petition

This petition is being presented to you on behalf of the San Joaquin Pride Center which mission is to serve the LGBT community within San Joaquin County. It is our understanding that your school district is finalizing its 2015-16 LCAP analysis. It is our hope that you consider the content of this petition as you continue your considerations.

Seth Walsh was a gentle soul who loved reading James Herriot's books and listening to Mozart and Nat King Cole. On Sept 18th 2010, because of the constant teasing and bullying, Seth took actions into his own hands and on Sept 27th, doctors pronounced him braindead. Seth’s suicide, along with the suicides of Tyler Clementi, 18, Billy Lucas, 15, and Asher Brown, 13, forced our nation to engage in a conversation about LGBT bullying which led to the passing of AB9-Seth’s Law here in California. Seth’s Law has 2 important requirements for schools and all school staff. First, all school staff are required to take immediate steps to intervene whenever they witness discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying which while not required under the law, it is still encouraged.  Second, schools and staff are required to document reports of bullying and interventions and actions taken in response. 

On July 1st, 2012, Seth’s law was enacted.  Now, all school districts are required to provide LGBT anti-bullying programs in their schools and report back to the State of California to prove they are in compliance of the law. Unfortunately, not all school districts in San Joaquin County are in compliance with the audit mandate and many more have reported they have not extended training on discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying to all or even most of their teachers and school personnel. Also, a recent survey of LGBT youth by the San Joaquin Pride Center discovered that only 28 percent of the respondents reported receiving education on LGBT-related issues at school. Our youth deserve better than this.

On behalf of San Joaquin County’s LGBT youth, San Joaquin Pride Center encourages you to take the following actions as described below:

  • We urge you to strengthen our District’s support for our LGBTQ youth by increasing current funding for anti-bullying programs via the Local Control Funding Formula.
  • We call on you to ensure that these prevention and support programs specifically address the challenges our LGBTQ youth face in regards to bullying.
  • Finally, we also ask that you maintain compliance with AB9 audits and that you provide the San Joaquin Pride Center with the name and contact for each school’s administrator appointed to handle LGBT bullying complaints or an LGBTQ liaison that can work with our local LGBT community and make sure our LGBTQ youth are receiving the support they need.

 

We strongly feel that these reasonable measures can easily be funded through LCAP under the State Priority of School Climate or by adopting a local priority.

Established in 2011, the San Joaquin Pride Center has quickly become the central hub for the LGBTQ community within the county.  It offers LGBTQ sensitivity training, hosts an annual youth empowerment summit, an annual youth prom and works closely with students, parents and educators in supporting our local LGBTQ youth. Through its community stakeholder program, SJPC offers to work with school’s administrator/liaison and connect them with students and parents willing to work cooperatively with schools to address bullying.

As you know, LGBTQ youth are in need of these supports because they are among the most vulnerable of students.  To emphasize this point, please review the attached statistics from a recent LGBTQ youth study. Providing safe schools that are free from harassment are vital for the success and health of all students.  Thank you for making safe and supportive schools a priority.

 

 


LGBTQ Youth Study Highlights:

The California Rural Legal Assistance research compiled from California Health Kids Survey determines that for the 2013-2014 school year, approximately 2,587 LGBT identified students were enrolled in San Joaquin County public high schools. 

Schools should be a young person's primary center for learning, growing, and building a foundation for success in the world. Growing up and getting through high school can be challenging for any student, but LGBT youth too, often face additional obstacles of harassment, abuse, and violence. The statistics are astounding:

 

Academics

 

  • LGBT students at schools with comprehensive policies on bullying and harassment are much more likely to report harassment to school authorities who, in turn, were more likely to respond effectively.
  • LGBT students are twice as likely to say that they were not planning on completing high school or going on to college.

 

Health

 

  • Gay teens are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
  • LGBT youth who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence are three times more likely to use illegal drugs.

 

Family & Shelter

 

  • Half of gay males experience a negative parental reaction when they come out and in 26% of those cases the youth was thrown out of the home.
  • Studies indicate that between 25% and 50% of homeless youth are LGBT and on the streets because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • LGBT youth are overrepresented in foster care, juvenile detention, and among homeless youth.

 

Harassment & Violence

 

  • Nearly a fifth of students are physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth because of their gender expression.
  • About two-thirds of LGBT students reported having ever been sexually harassed (e.g., sexual remarks made, being touched inappropriately) in school in the past year.
  • mpted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
  • LGBT youth who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence are three times more likely to use illegal drugs.

 

Family & Shelter

 

  • Half of gay males experience a negative parental reaction when they come out and in 26% of those cases the youth was thrown out of the home.
  • Studies indicate that between 25% and 50% of homeless youth are LGBT and on the streets because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • LGBT youth are overrepresented in foster care, juvenile detention, and among homeless youth.

 

Harassment & Violence

 

  • Nearly a fifth of students are physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth because of their gender expression.
  • About two-thirds of LGBT students reported having ever been sexually harassed (e.g., sexual remarks made, being touched inappropriately) in school in the past year.

The average GPA for students who were frequently physically harassed because of their sexual orientation was half a grade lower than that of other This letter is being presented to you on behalf of the San Joaquin Pride Center which mission is to serve the LGBT community within San Joaquin County. It is our understanding that your school district is finalizing its 2015-16 LCAP analysis. It is our hope that you consider the content of this letter as you continue your considerations.

 

 

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